Brevity isn’t sometime I’m known for but, in this instance, I feel it necessary.
On 16 August 2017 Screaming O announced that the ‘The Truth About Body-Safe: a frank, evidence-based discussion of what body-safe really means‘ presented at the 2017 Woodhull Sexual Freedom Summit had been sponsored by them.
This was initially problematic to many individuals partially because the panel was egregiously forgiving of toxic sex toys and went against the advice of many sex toy safety advocates. But the main point of shock and violation for many was that, as part of the press release, Screaming O filmed and published the session without the consent of the audience or speakers (more on this soon).
This justifiable reaction then grew into a storm of equally understandable outrage when it was later revealed that the panel was not sponsored by Screaming O at all, that the speaker attending on Screaming O’s behalf was not aware that Screaming O would claim as such, and that Woodhull has strongly denied that this was the case (and have subsequently condemned Screaming O in a public statement).
Woodhull is not at all culpable in this, and speaker Anne Hodder has emphasized as much in her own tweets, and, quite frankly, I feel offended on behalf of Woodhull that Screaming O would abuse the trust, professionalism, and positive nature that Woodhull presents with their shitty actions.
.@WoodhullSFA is not culpable. The panel was not sponsored; I was not paid to do the work & Screaming O was 100% removed from the process /7
— Anne Hodder, ACS (@theannehodder) August 16, 2017
There is so much that can be said about why what Screaming O did was wrong, but here are the main points as I see them:
Deliberate Misinformation: Screaming O claimed sponsorship when this was unequivocally false. This they would have been fully aware of but they chose to spin their involvement in Woodhull this way anyway. This self-serving PR stunt is a huge mark against their integrity as a company and raises huge alarms regarding their PR tactics and what they find acceptable.
Disrespect Of A Colleague: Despite how others may feel about Anne Hodder’s research, it was hers. She spoke proudly at Woodhull about her findings after having spent countless hours collectively gathering her sources and creating her findings. For Screaming O to then claim ownership over her work in any way is an incredibly disrespectful action to perform and a complete disregard of Hodder’s agency over her work. Disgraceful.
Violation of Consent: Most individuals at this panel did not know that a recording of the event would go live. Most spoke as if they were in a safe and confidential space because of this. They let their voices be heard, shared information they might not otherwise be comfortable with disclosing, and felt secure among ‘their people’ Screaming O invaded that space and violated everything it stood for. How dare they? Like, seriously, how fucking dare any company purporting (even falsely) to support Woodhull do something to utterly against its ethos?
Fuck Screaming O.
Now, I haven’t even spoken about the issues with the content of the panel but this is with good reason: I didn’t get to attend. But many sex positive superstars did and I will be sure to link to their posts as they start to emerge below.
I will also be sharing the commendable efforts of other bloggers in documenting this whole situation. Y’all are absolutely amazing.
But for now, dear readers, all I can say is this: Please don’t support Screaming O. A company that lies for its own benefits and actively disregards consent because it thinks that it’s ‘paid its way’ to entitlement is not the type of company to support in any instance.
No sex toy will ever be worth sacrificing the integrity that is felt in opposing the worst of the worst when it comes to company offences.
Until the next review,